YouTube is currently testing a new feature inspired by Twitch - clips. This concept allows users to create small, sharable pieces of video from larger videos already available on the platform. Viewers will be able to hit a button and be presented with a sliding timeline editor. Users will be able to select up to 60 seconds, give the clip a name, and receive a unique URL to share wherever and however.
One of the big differences from the implementation on Twitch is that it will not create a new, unique video. Instead, it will function more like how sharing a video from a timestamp works. When someone follows the link, it will take you to the original video, with the timeline limited to the segment selected by the original sharer. The viewer will then have the option to view the entire video. Because they are already on the page, the player will just unlock the timeline and play from the beginning.
The nature of the implementation means that these clips are not listed anywhere. One of the aspects of clips that have made them a success on Twitch has been the popular clips section of a content creator's channel. Viewers can see the short segments of a streamer's longer videos that their fans have found the most interesting. Making the clips private on YouTube removes that engagement for fans.
For content creators, these clips could pose problems in regards to YouTube's recommendation engine. The algorithm takes views into account but also takes overall view time into account. So, if a content creator makes a perfect length video, and someone clips a 60-second segment, the channel will get the view, but will also show only 60-second retention. If Google doesn't take that into account, it will certainly harm the discoverability of new content.
In addition, it could harm income. Many content creators, including ourselves, include ad-reads in their videos. Clipping the video will remove that ad from the video, potentially leading to lower revenue for the creator. Google has said that ads will still be run on clips, so long as the original video is at least 30 seconds, though we suspect it will actually apply only to clips that are 30 seconds in the end. This means that creators will still have a way to monetize, but it will force them to rely even heavier on YouTube's own system, which can be revoked at a moment's notice without explanation.